How are Christians to know what to believe?
How are Christians to know how to live?
If we disagree can we still be unified?
If we can’t be unified is that important?
It seems to me that there are three ways that the Christian can know how to live: They can follow a leader like a Pope or a denominational founder, They can listen to the Holy Spirit directly like the Charismatics, or they can follow the Bible. Each system has its own failings. Leaders are notoriously corruptible. In my opinion it is very unwise to put all your faith in a human being (unless that human being is also God). Listening to the Holy Spirit is a good idea unless you happen to be mentally ill in which case you might be getting the wrong message. Or if you are just listening to yourself telling you what you want to hear or if the evil spirit yells louder than the good one or – did I mention mental illness? What about the Bible? True there are lots of ways to interpret the Bible but not an infinite number. We would still have lots of disagreements but maybe there would be some fundamentals that we could all agree upon. Then we could have a sort of unity and we could have a sort of an agreement on how to live.
The problem with following the Bible is that it is not as inerrant as we would like to believe. We would like to believe that the Bible was dictated by God but it was not. We can tell because the New Testament writers often quote the Old Testament incorrectly. The Holy Spirit would not have made that mistake but a person going from memory would have. So what do we do? It would be easy to say to trust the Bible anyway and mostly I do but there is something more important here. God could easily have made the Bible inerrant. He didn’t for a reason. I have only my guess as to the reason and I’m not a prophet. My guess is that God wanted nothing to come between us and his son Jesus. The Bible is great but we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. Why do I believe that? Because Jesus is God’s son. God showed himself in this manner so that we would understand and I think I do. If my son had done the sort of things that Jesus had done I would insist that all honor and glory go to him.
So what about unity? what about believing correctly? What about living correctly? I don’t know.
A bit of a side bar if you please. The next time you are tempted to say “The Bible is the Word of God” remember that Jesus is the Word of God. I know that because it is in the Bible.